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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University


Program Offerings

Academic Division: College

Degrees Offered:
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Science
Academic Programs: Course Offerings:

Example Career Outcomes

  • Dentistry
  • Medicine
  • Physical therapy
  • Veterinary medicine

The biological sciences play a key role in human society from the conservation of biodiversity to medicine. The Department of Biology strives to cultivate an exciting academic environment to study, research, and contemplate the broad spectrum of the life sciences. Our teaching philosophy is founded on a belief in the value of a personal educational experience, achieved through small classes and laboratories, and opportunities for independent study and research. Faculty embrace the teacher-scholar model, and pursue varied research interests with student collaborators.

Our curriculum is designed to promote effective scientific communication, the understanding and use of the scientific method, the understanding of the major concepts in biology, the use of the tools and techniques of science, and an understanding of the scientific literature. An important aspect of science education at Washington & Lee is hands-on experience, including independent research experience. Many of our courses include laboratory and/or field work, often incorporating original research projects.

Our majors receive a broad education in the biosciences. Our graduates are competitive for entry to graduate programs, medical and other professional programs, and employment in all sectors of research, development and commerce. We also provide opportunities for students in all academic programs to gain a greater appreciation for the nature of science and its impacts on society, in keeping with the liberal arts tradition of broadly educated individuals.

Program Highlights

  • The Department offers a Bachelor of Arts major and a Bachelor of Science major. Students contemplating either of these should, during the first term of their first year, register for Math 101 or 102 and a laboratory science in biology or chemistry. The biology major leading to a Bachelor of Science degree consists of 50 credits in science and math, with at least 33 credits in biology. The biology major leading to a Bachelor or Arts degree consists of 41 credits in science and math, with at least 27 credits in biology.
  • The Marine Science Education Consortium with Duke University Marine Laboratory is a program that makes it possible for W&L biology majors to spend fall, winter, or spring term at Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C. Usually this occurs during junior or senior year. All credits successfully completed from this program will apply toward the biology major and degree at W&L.
  • W&L and St. Andrews University in Scotland have joined forces to provide a quality study abroad experience for students in the sciences as well as students interested in the health professions. As part of this program, participating students may enroll for specific biology classes and/or organic chemistry which will receive credit and a grade on a W&L transcript. Premed students may also elect to take part in a special premedical seminar offered by a member of the St. Andrews Medical Faculty which includes site visits to area hospitals and clinics.
  • The members of the Department of Biology offer students the opportunities for individual in-depth study on topics of mutual interest to faculty and students. Directed Individual Study (DIS) and Directed Individual Research (DIR) may be repeated for degree credit by permission. DIS may be taken as preparation for the R. E. Lee summer research internship.
  • A recent $1.3 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant to the biosciences is providing increased opportunities for a more intensive student experience interdisciplinary and bioscience research.